THE DESIGN PROCESS
Hullo, All, and welcome!
From last week’s post, “Now, let me be clear, and I offer as this as a disclaimer, a design project cannot be “pantzed,” it must be planned, and meticulously so. There are codes and regulations and specs (specifications) that must be met. You can’t “spec” a flooring product, for instance, and not know how much is needed. All bedrooms must have some form of egress—a means of exit to the outside, whether door or window, whether ground level or high rise or basement.”
There is a process that is followed to create a functional and cohesive design. For instance, the site or location plays a part in the final design; a home or office building designed for a sloping lot won’t work on a flat site.
From the website for Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, where I earned my BFA in Interior Design.
Visualization and presentation. Kind of like the notion or spark of a story that first niggles in our writerly minds. “Most of the time when we first glimpse a storyline in our mind, it’s faint and nebulous. No form. No edges. There’s a filmy type of character that we want to do this vague kind of thing.” – Angie Arndt, women’s fiction writer. http://www.angelaarndt.com/
That’s so true for me; a name or some phrase that lends to a title, or a setting or storyline—any of these can trigger a whole story; I feel the story before I know it, let alone write it.
Back to design—first things first, know the client. As writers, our client is our readers. Who are they? What do they read? Why do they read? Does my story meet their expectations? A designer will meet with the client and discuss the desired end result. As writers, we have social media (right, Edie Melson?) blogs and websites, and newletters to achieve the same basic result. Add to that author events like book signings and maybe we have the advantage.
Now, as a reader who reads in multiple genres, my expectations vary from story to story. In the past two weeks I have read ancient Egypt to somewhere in the future to the American Revolutionary War. My expectations were very different for each of these stories.
When you know the client / your reader, you can better know where to go with the project or story. As designers, we have the bare bones floor plan, walls, windows, stairs, and we begin with space planning, manipulating the space to create the best design and flow. Is it a work space? A home? A school, or hospital? How is it utilized? In writing, we also “space plan”—who is in it, how deep is the story, time span, location(s)? What is the scope? Novella? A series? Flash fiction?
In design, we create a parti, the basic scheme of concept of an architectural design. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/parti
In writing, we also generate a “parti”—an overall story arc, whether or not we are a plotter / planner, a pantser, or somewhere in between, and key elements and sub-plots and arcs.
My parti from my capstone project.
Is there a special topic that applies to the project? For my Senior Capstone project, an elementary school, the scope was far too vast for one individual, especially within the time limitations of a single semester. I had thought I’d focus on the theatre within the school, and one classroom; as I did my research, however, I discovered collaborative teaching methods, and the value of sunlight in the classroom. Intrigues by the notion, I focused on those in my final design. (I did not end up designing either the theatre or art rooms, but one grade level classroom suite only, so comprehensive did m project become.)
Similarly, is there an angle or special area of interest fitting to your story? I recently read (and reviewed) The Salarian Desert Game by J.A. McLachlan. A futuristic story with interplanetary travel, the field is wide open for special items of special interest—the entire planet, for instance, that is desert, or the one that was cold and boggy. Ms. McLachlan did a stellar job of keeping her “special interests” legitimate, the transports, the lingo she created, the names, the way of life.
Once the project statement is delineated, it’s time to fill in the details. For the plotter / planner, details like color and textile, safety and accessibility codes, sustainability are tacked up on sticky notes or saved in programs like Scrivener. The pantser, however, sails through these details, noting them as I go (this pantser anyway). Who’s who, and who’s related to whom, birthdays, anniversaries, significant events and dates, names of towns, schools, parks; I keep a list of these things to refer back as needed.
How does your writing design flow? Where are you in the process? Do you have before you still the blank canvas? Are you 100 words in, 1000? Are you in the first or third in a series, or are you writing stand alone? Is this your first manuscript? Or your twelfth? Do you have a pattern or routine down or does it shift and change with each story? Do you write in one genre, or multiples? Tell me about the design of your writing.
“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”
Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas. Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years. Her characters face many of these same demons.
Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own. She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.
Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016. Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.
#thedesignprocess, #storiesbydesign, #visualizationandpresentation, #knowtheclient, #knowthereader, #genre, #scope, #designparti, #projectstatement